Today was painful in more ways than one.
For starters, we began the race by ripping directly up a 10km climb. Thankfully I remembered that we did this same climb in the 2010 Tour of Romandie… or maybe 2009, I forget. Un-thankfully, though, that little fact didn’t make it any easier knowing what we were in for. It was a shallow 5% gradient or so, but doing that straight out of the blocks was a far cry from pleasant. Then the peloton split entirely in two. I was content to hang out in the second group (I don’t mean that really. I wasn’t content, per se, but we really were half of the entire peloton. Plenty of good guys up the road and still plenty of good GC guys in our second peloton too). So I sat in as best as possible, but when we’re tearing along at 50-60kph for the subsequent hour, it’s not exactly easy. It took 2.5 hours for my average watts to drop below 300w. Read: it was hard.
Then things mellowed out a bit for about three and a half seconds, then it was full gas again. We went through the feed zone which provided a bit of excitement because Astana thought that would be a good time to continue tearing the peloton apart. Plus by this point it was raining, because that’s what it does consistently in Switzerland. Then I was eating and had one hand on my bars and I rode over a full water bottle rolling through the middle of the road which the thirty dudes in front of me deftly managed to avoid, but I did not. That is, I didn’t see it until my front wheel was directly on top of it and I was then careening down the road head over teakettle. Which is to say, that didn’t end all that well cause I hit the deck hard. I gathered myself and was relatively okay. I lost skin in all the normal places — elbows, wrist, knees, shoulder — and I’m bruised, but all in all I’m okay. It just EFFING sucks cause crashing EFFING SUCKS.
In any event, I caught back on and then Astana and Movistar decided that our really fast pace wasn’t quite hard enough and therefore they were riding along with the peloton entirely one straight line with everyone dangling along the back at at 4×10^6 watts*. I didn’t like that because adding insult (riding hard) to injury (crashing), was not pleasant. Especially in the rain, because that’s what it does in Switzerland.
Then we went over one cat 4, directly into a cat 1 climb. At that point I decided that pulling the plug then was smart because I was hurting really badly, both my muscles and my now bruised and bleeding body, and I therefore needed to lick my wounds and save something for the coming days.
Ahh yes, and Peter won because he’s absurd. Peter is good because he wins the stages he’s supposed to win. And then he wins the stages that he’s not supposed to win, like today. A cat 1 climb then descend to the finish? Yeah, not many sprinters left in that bunch. Yeehaw bike racing, go him.
He won a novelty cow bell, of which I took a blurry and crummy photo. It looks cooler in real life.
* That’s an estimate.